#Vinopanion’s new wardkadel.com is live!

#Vinopanion: Domaine Chandon #wine

#thesunitburns

Well…the long wait is over!  If not for my fellow #Vinopanions, at least for my own incessant #wine cravings and the need to blast out my ramblings de vinos. WardKadel.com is finally live, as we are in the process of shutting down the long-running WineLog.net. With this relaunch, you will find more content combining my two passions of #triathlon & wine, as well as a newfound love of cooking and of course, the chronicles of our life in #Napa.

Indeed just last night, with the Lady (featured left in the vineyards of Domaine Chandon) in NYC for a fashion convention, I knocked out two very enjoyable recipes from Blue Apron, which has been a life-changer for me to finally learn and love to cook.

@BlueApron & #Beaujolais!

Cooking and first dinner (heh) was accompanied by the deliciously juicy 2015 Domaine des Quatre Vents Fleurie (review Vivino), from Beaujolais extraordinaire Georges Duboeuf. And since the journey of wine can never end (thank goodness, right??), I listened to my two favorite wine podcasts:

 

And so it with those two tasty #recipe‘s and these two brilliant wine podcasts, I will bid you adieu until my next Ward Kadel – #Vinopanion – @drXeNo post.

Vineyards of Domaine Chandon

Loving that #NapaLife!

¡Salud!

Taking my #wine kung fu to the next level: #WSET II & Napa Valley Wine Academy

406064_562298363799327_175257724_nI have been immersing myself in the study of #wine in a semi-systematic manner for much of the last 8 years.  Indeed, #Vinopanion‘s 8 year anniversary with @WineLog is approaching in the middle of this month. Yet I have slowly realized that something is lacking in my devotion to the knowledge of the vinous delights: focus, structure and external credibility. You’d think that a trained scientist would have recognized this long ago and I did notice these thoughts in the back of my mind a few years back.  But they were always battered back by “where’s the time?” and “I’m still receiving plenty of media travel & event invites,” along with “my wine consulting services continue to expand.” Then I reached last year and I started to recognize some clear patterns in my wine work. While I had plenty of media opportunities and my fellow wine colleagues were continuing to get work, I could see that the pace of my own trade offers beginning to slow down. It was then that I noticed that most of my colleagues began to sport letters after their names on their business cards: they were taking certified educational courses to formalize their wine training. I needed to set up my wine game. It was then that I contacted the good people at Napa Valley Wine Academy (FB, Tw): “help!”

Our-certification-menu-logoThe Napa Valley Wine Academy (NVWA) was founded in 2011 by longtime wine industry veterans, R. Christian Oggenfuss, D.W.S., F.W.S., I.W.P and Catherine Bugue, D.W.S., IWP. As residents of Northern California wine country, they both perceived a lack of true connection between the schools that offered wine and spirits training and the actual regions about which they taught…and thus a fine beverage academy in the Napa Valley was born!  Featuring industry educational luminaries including Master of Wines Peter Marks and Tim Hanni, as well as Master Sommelier Tim Gaiser; they are truly “one foot in the classroom and the other in the vineyards.” The NVWA has experienced tremendous industry support and strong early success, prompting them to expand to satellite locations around the US in Tampa, Florida and Santa Barbara, CA; as well as online. 

IMG_5975The NVWA instructors are spread across all of the major industry certifications, allowing the Academy to provide a full service range of official beverage certifications, including wine, spirits, saké, and beverage service, and region-specific courses. All courses and examinations are given by the academy itself, making it a one-stop educational experience, unlike many other piecemeal organizations. I have chosen to start my wine and beverage education in the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (FB, Tw, YT, NVWA) program, starting with the WSET II Award, courtesy of the NVWA.  More on those adventures later however, as I need to get studying for my first exam! ¡Salud!

San Francisco Vintners Market 5 Comes Alive! (Big Discount!)

I attend a large number wine events.  That might even be an understatement, to which my fine readers can attest!  Thus, I feel that it’s saying something to describe an upcoming wine event as one of my favorite series of wine events, ever.  The San Francisco Vintners Market (Twitter, Facebook, WineLog) wine tastings are those exact events: totally fun, onsite wine purchasing available, and of course, fantastic wines to taste in unlimited amounts.  And lucky readers, for round 5 (DING) of the #SFVM, I now have a fat discount so you cats can partake!

One reason, besides the many that I just poured out above, that I love these events so much is the number of new wineries that I discover each time we attend.  We always get the VIP tickets in order to get access to the Reserve Room, where we taste bottles of wine that most normal humans can never afford (without the event discounts to buy onsite, of course 😉 ). One great discovery that we’ve made has been the small family winery Sciandri Family Vineyards (Twitter, Facebook, WineLog), they of the newly formed Coombsville AVA in southern Napa Valley.  Big, but balanced Cabs come out of this producer, as does some big and warm, family hospitality.

All of this doesn’t even include the awesome gourmet bites and sponsors that you can also check out, while swirling some good stuff around in your keepsake logo glass.  Lastly, get your learn on and chat with some of the many winemakers that are actually in attendance and pouring their work, a rarity for events of this size.  So join us next month, at the next SF Vintners.  Enter the code “VINOPANION” for a nifty 50% off of your tickets, or just follow the links below.  Cheers!

What: San Francisco Vintners Market – Spring Time In The City
When: April 14th & 15th
Where: Fort Mason Center, Festival Pavilion, San Francisco, CA
Cost:
General Admission: $80.00 (Includes all wines except Reserve Room)
Reserve Admission: $100 (Includes Reserve Room access to wines priced at $50 per bottle or higher)

Times: Trade tasting 12pm – 1pm Saturday & Sunday (RETAIL WINE BUYERS AND MEDIA ONLY)
General Admission: 1pm – 4pm Saturday & Sunday
Reserve Room Access: 12pm – 4pm Saturday & Sunday

21 AND OLDER ONLY!
NO PETS OR CHILDREN!
NO TICKET REFUNDS!

Click below for tickets at a 50% discount:

VINOPANION

 

Wines tasted at SF Vintners Market (Twitter, Facebook, WineLog) events:

[winelist query=”SFVintners” num=”100″]

Jet Bag Defeats AA at WBC11

I do a lot of traveling for wine.  Just the last 6 months has seen me pop up in New York twice and Charlottesville once.  Strangely enough, this means that I tend to accumulate a fair amount of wine during my travels (I know, cue the weeping and lamentations).  This does tend to present a Conundrum, however.  When one needs to fly these days, it tends to be very difficult to hide 750 mL of glass-encased liquid.

OK, but that’s fine, right?  I’ll just check my baggage with the bottle of red stashed inside…surrounded by all of my favorite clothes because I just went to NYC for the first time.  Hmm…not a recipe for success, especially as I watched the suplex being applied to my suitcase out on the tarmac.  Cue: the Jet Bag (Twitter).

I received a couple sample Jet Bags in the mail just under four months ago, from Spread the News PR.  I had planned to write a more extended article about this great product and was waiting for the perfect time to test out the Jet Bags.  Along comes procrastination WBC11 and I realize, bingo!  I always get a tons of vino at those awesome conferences, let’s bring them on the trip!  There’s nothing like a real life test scenario to well, realistically test things out.  Coming back, exhausted, from Virginia, I was subjected to American Airlines definition of flight-canceling weather at O’Hare in Chicago.  Never mind that no other airline appeared to be even delayed and my (slightly) discounted hotel for the few hours of no sleep night was mystified in regards to the supposed weather conditions (the Hyatt Regency O’Hare (Twitter) ROCKED, btw).  All this means is that my poor luggage was beat up much more than normal and most likely sweltering all night out in a non-temperature controlled warehouse somewhere.

All that said, after I got home for work and could unpack, I discovered that my fantastic sample of 2005 Tabarrini Montefalco Colle Grimaldesco Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG (garnering an OldWorldWK badge) Italian red was perfectly safe and insulated.  Very impressive.  And it’s actually the simplicity of this wine product that allows me to finish this article in way under 500 words.

Open the bag, place the bottle inside the absorbent, insulated bag, close the Ziploc and place it in your luggage.  Done.

I couldn’t be more pleased and thrilled to say that they’re also reusable.  Starting at $15 for 3, they throw down some good value. A complete win!  Check out their video of a Jet Bag in action.  Cheers!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZt5_5PrYTY&feature=channel_video_title[/youtube]

 

5 Questions with Aron Ezra of MacroView Labs

MacroView LabsThere are many a wine app for iOS and (growing) on Android.  Wine+Tech wünderkinds VinTank, have done extensive research on iOS apps (iPhone) over the last few years with the most recent count at 450+, as of 04/14/2011.  Indeed, my own content is distributed on two mobile apps, Hello Vino and Wine by the Bar.  With that many apps out there for a very specific genre, you can imagine that there is a lot of noise and a lot of well, mediocre (at best) apps for wine.  So, it is a refreshingly rare circumstance when one comes across an app that kicks some serious vinous booty.  And the new app (iPhone, Android) from Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery (Twitter, WineLog) by MacroView Labs (Twitter) gets my vote for kickin’ that booty.

Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and WineryThe app, co-launched with the nearby Vintners Inn (Twitter) does so many things right for a focused topic like a single winery and inn: a great usable design that actually works with no bugs.  High-res imagery abounds, with fully integrated social channels, live location-based maps and all of the information found on the full website including in-app purchasing of wine, via a wrapped browser functionality.  MacroView Labs has created an app that is dynamic, full of complementary information such as unique wine pairings and recipes and  designed all of this with a highly intuitive and beautiful design.  The app was launched in May of 2011 and by the publish date of this article, had already reached 3,100 downloads. I was so impressed that I requested an interview with MacroView Labs CEO, Aron Ezra (Twitter) for my 5 Questions series…and included a bonus 6th question, to boot.  Enjoy!

1. Ward (Twitter)/VinopanionWineLog (Twitter): First off, I’d just like the compliment the thoroughness of your app for Ferrari-Carano and the Vintners Inn, well played! When a new winery or wine website approaches you about a possible app, what is the single most important piece of information that you need to start the development process? Who are some of your more recent clients besides F-C and VI?

Aron Ezra, CEO - MacroView Labs Aron Ezra (Twitter): Thank you for the kind words! When we start working with a new client, the most important step for them to take is to determine their goals and objectives in entering the mobile space. Some clients are most focused on improving the guest experience, others want to generate more revenue, others want to make their staff more efficient, and so on. Once the client decides what they want their mobile apps and mobile website to accomplish, we partner with them to build a mobile strategy that suits their needs, and we then begin developing the technology.

2. Ward (Twitter)/VinopanionWineLog (Twitter): In line with the previous question, what are some things that a prospective wine app client can do to get things rolling pretty quickly after contacting MacroView?

Aron Ezra (Twitter): Once we settle on desired functionality and sign a contact, we can get started with working with a client immediately. We can launch the first version of the apps and the mobile site a few weeks later.

3. Ward (Twitter)/VinopanionWineLog (Twitter): After the initial meeting, how is the development process taken forward for a new app?

Aron Ezra (Twitter): After our kickoff meeting, we work with the client to create the right structure for the app, the right aesthetic, and the right functionality. We use our content management system to accomplish this — this is the same system that our clients can use to make any changes they want. We meet with our new clients regularly to show them our progress and make any changes they suggest. After a few weeks, once everyone is happy, we submit the app to the app stores, and then focus on getting the word out about the solution and continually making enhancements to allow the apps to evolve and improve.

Ferrari-Carano Mobile App4. Ward (Twitter)/VinopanionWineLog (Twitter): Also, do you tend to work with entirely new designs each time or do you have a store of app templates that clients can chose from to get their app up and running quickly?

Aron Ezra (Twitter): We provide our clients with a variety of options for creating an app structure. We can create entirely custom apps, or we have app template structures that clients can choose from. Either way, we can work with our clients to create the right design to fit their branding.

5. Ward (Twitter)/VinopanionWineLog (Twitter): I see on your site that you also promise to follow the client after the app is launched, including help for promoting their app across their various social channels. What sorts of activities are included in this follow-on service?

Aron Ezra (Twitter): We provide ongoing strategic mobile consulting around setting business goals and identifying how best to use mobile to achieve those goals. We improve our client’s deployed mobile software every day to make sure it is helping them achieve their business goals. We also have a powerful proprietary data analytics engine that highlight things like: how customers are using the deployed mobile software, what features are generating revenue, and how we can improve the results.

For instance, if we notice that people in one part of the country tend to delete the app after viewing a specific page or feature, we change that page/feature. If we notice that a certain offer or social media feature tends to generate more interest or revenue, we expand upon that, often within hours of noticing the pattern.

We also help with generating positive buzz for the solutions through (1) internal training, (2) external promotions, and (3) word of mouth. First, we put together an app FAQ for internal staff to ensure all employees know about and can talk about the app to customers. Then, we work with our clients to make sure marketing collateral – from on-site signage, to employee email signatures, to direct marketing catalogues – mention the app. Finally, we help implement a public relations outreach alongside a social media push. We help create tools and campaigns to inspire the app users to tell their friends about it.

Ferrari-Carano App6. Ward (Twitter)/VinopanionWineLog (Twitter): You’ve made a large number of original, user-friendly and engaging apps over the life of the company. What’s next for MacroView Labs and how do you intend to continue to innovate?

Aron Ezra (Twitter): Our clients depend on us to keep them up-to-date and keep them profitable in the mobile world. Mobile moves incredibly fast, so we’ll be working hard to keep innovating on the countless new hardware and software releases on the horizon. In short, our focus will remain on delivering outstanding service and outstanding new features that generate bottom-line results.

Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery (Twitter, WineLog)

[winelist query=”Ferrari-Carano” num=”100″]